A man known by most of the Gainesville community as "Big Jim" died at his home Monday night at the age of 83.
James A. Walters was President & CEO of Walters Management Company. He was appointed to the Georgia Ports Authority in 2012 by then-Gov. Nathan Deal; Walters served as Chairman of GPA for more than one term. He also served for a decade on the board for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, acting as Board Chairman during his tenure.
Walters was known as much for his philanthropic efforts as he was for his business acumen.
Walters was born in Matthews, North Carolina, but moved to Gainesville in 1970. He was recognized with dozens of community awards, including the North Georgia Community Foundation's Philanthropist of the Year honor, the Georgia Cities Foundation Renaissance Award and the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Service Award. Walters was generous with his time and resources, and numbers of non-profit groups across the region benefited from his generosity.
Much of Walters' generosity happened behind the scenes, but his name is also on many local buildings, including the J. A. Walters YMCA, The Walters Athletic Center at Lakeview Academy, The Walters Allied Health building on the campus of Lanier Tech and the Walters Auditorium at Northeast Georgia Medical Center.
Memorial Park Funeral Home-Riverside Chapel is in charge of funeral arrangements for Jim Walters.
A private memorial service is planned for Walters' family, with a Celebration of Life party scheduled for a later date once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.